NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks named the Green Bay Packers one of his five sleeper teams for the 2019 season.
Just a few years ago, the Green Bay Packers were competing in their second NFC Championship Game in three seasons and were considered Super Bowl contenders every year.
But that was in 2016. Now entering the 2019 season, a lot has changed. The Packers, a team that has failed even to reach the postseason the past two years, is looking to bounce back. The Packers are anything but NFC North favorites or considered one of the NFC’s top contenders.
But perhaps they should be.
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks named five teams who didn’t make the playoffs in 2018 who he believes can bounce back this year. One of his sleeper teams is the Packers. Here’s what Brooks wrote about the Packers ahead of the 2019 season:
"“The Packers addressed concerns about the defense in the offseason by pumping a lot of free-agent dollars and draft capital into resources on the edges (Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Rashan Gary), which should enable the team to close out games against opponents chasing points late in contests. If Rodgers and new head coach Matt LaFleur team up to unleash an offense that has some underrated playmakers at key spots, the Packers will surge back to the top of the NFC North this season.”"
And Brooks is right. With Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay goes into just about every game with an advantage at quarterback. But in recent years, either he was injured or there were too many problems at other positions on the roster, such as the secondary.
In some ways, this team needed a couple of losing seasons to be able to restock with high draft picks. Jaire Alexander was a home-run selection in 2017, but to get him, Green Bay needed a much higher pick than it had in all of the recent playoff seasons.
And the same was true again when the team owned the 12th overall pick this April, which it used to select edge rusher Rashan Gary.
If Rodgers is at his best and the defense steps up, the Packers will be a tough team to stop, and potentially one of the best teams in the entire conference.
This team has to prove it after two losing seasons. But with an improved roster, Green Bay has the opportunity to be one of the teams to make the playoffs in 2019 after missing out a year ago.